Entertainment Today: Showbiz News

By KAREN BUTLER, United Press International  |  Sept. 30, 2002 at 3:00 AM
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American action star Tom Cruise and director Steven Spielberg told reporters at the Italian premiere of their new film, "Minority Report," they like the way President Bush is handling the Iraq issue.

Describing Bush's policies as "solid" and "rooted in reality," Cruise added, "Personally, I don't have all the information that President Bush has but I believe Saddam has committed many crimes against humanity and against his own people."

"If Bush, as I believe, has reliable information on the fact that Saddam Hussein is making weapons of mass destruction, I cannot not support (Bush's) policies," Spielberg chimed in.

However, not all American celebrities are so supportive of Bush's stance.

In a letter posted on the Drudge Report Web site, singer/actress Barbra Streisand states: "Don't ignore the obvious influence on the Bush administration of such special interests as the oil industry, the chemical companies and the logging industry ... just to name a few."

Streisand isn't the only one who apparently feels this way.

Last week, actresses Susan Sarandon and Jane Fonda joined 4,000 people who protested Bush's policies in a newspaper and Internet manifesto headlined "Not in Our Name," The New York Daily News reports.


Velvet-voiced singer Barry White has suffered kidney failure and needs a transplant, his record label has revealed.

"Doctors confirm that Barry White has a history of hypertension (high blood pressure), which has led to a decline of kidney function," says a statement from Island Def Jam Music Group. "He has started a course of maintenance dialysis therapy. Once stabilized, he will be a candidate for a kidney transplant."

The 58-year-old singer is best known for his hits, "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe," "You're the First, the Last, My Everything," and "I'm Gonna Love You, Just A Little More Baby."


"Facts of Life" alum Mindy Cohn, 1990s rapper M.C. Hammer and "Webster" star Emmanuel Lewis are just some of the former celebrities lined up for the new WB reality series, "The Surreal Life."

According to Variety, Motlery Crue rocker Vince Neil and former "Baywatch" hottie Brande Roderick, as well as Cohn, Hammer and Lewis, will move in together and have their lives taped round-the-clock just like in the television phenomena, "Big Brother" and "The Real World."

Produced by Brass Ring Productions and Mindless Entertainment, the show will follow the pop culture figures as they room and work together in the San Fernando Valley for two weeks.

Originally scheduled to air this month, "Surreal" was pushed back to midseason to give producers more time to cast the series and set up camp, Variety says. The WB ordered six episodes of the show earlier this summer.


The American Library Association has announced the recent and significant decrease in the number of books considered inappropriate for schools and libraries.

According to Book magazine, last year only 20 to 25 books were challenged, including the Harry Potter series for its focus on witchcraft and wizardry.

When the ALA began tracking books in the 1980s, more than 200 books a year were marked for controversial and unsuitable material.


After playing a string of troubled teens in dark dramas, Emmy Award-winning actor Jonathan Jackson says it was a pleasure to star in a Disney version of Natalie Babbitt's classic fantasy, "Tuck Everlasting."

"I did a movie for Artisan called 'Skeletons in the Closet,' where I played a serial killer and in 'Insomnia,' I played an abusive boyfriend and in the Irish movie I did ('On the Edge,') I was a suicidal Northern Irish guy, so I was doing a lot of dark roles," the 20-year-old former "General Hospital" actor tells United Press International.

"Then 'Tuck' came along and I was this joyful, young romantic lead kind of guy and it was a lot of fun. It was also more difficult than I thought. To sustain that kind of joy for 14 hours a day is actually harder than being sullen," he adds.

Scheduled for release Oct. 11, the film also stars Oscar winners Ben Kingsley, Sissy Spacek and William Hurt. First published in 1975, "Tuck Everlasting" has been a staple on elementary school reading lists for years and was the basis for a 1981 film.

Asked to describe the tale, Jackson happily obliged, noting: "It's a beautiful story about the Tuck family, who stumble across a spring. They drink from it and it makes them live forever. It stops them in time. So, my character, Jesse, is 17 and he's 17 forever and this young girl, played by Alexis Bledel from (TV's) 'Gilmore Girls' falls in love with my character and then has to decide whether she's going to drink from the spring and live with him forever or live a normal life. So, it's kind of a romantic-adventure-fable."

When he's not acting, Jackson and his older brother, Richard Lee, practice and play with Jono and The Rock, their rock band, whose major influence and inspiration is U2.

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